The export sales data spurred Thursday corn gains. The corn market’s flat Wednesday night performance suggested traders were awaiting the weekly USDA Export Sales report with bated breath. The actual result, at 1,170.6 tonnes easily exceeded industry expectations and apparently sparked a big bullish response. March corn futures rallied 7.75 cents to $3.8975/bushel around midsession Thursday, while July ran up 7.25 to $4.0475.
The export news also boosted bean and meal futures. The soy complex came under modest selling pressure Wednesday night, but this morning’s export numbers proved quite supportive. Both bean and meal totals easily surpassed forecasts, while the soyoil figure came in toward the upper end of the pre-report range. Energy sector weakness apparently stifled rally attempts in that market, which clearly lagged its rallying CBOT counterparts. January soybean futures surged 12.25 cents to $10.105/bushel in late Thursday trading, while January soyoil sagged 0.24 cents to 31.70 cents/pound, and January meal advanced $4.0 to $357.8/ton.
Wheat futures firmed despite a low export result. The weekly report stated wheat export sales at the low end of industry forecasts, but the wheat markets rebounded from overnight lows nonetheless. Given the late-November rally, numerous traders were probably expecting a real bust on the report. Their buying may have sparked the surprising rebound toward unchanged levels. March CBOT wheat closed up 0.25 cent at $5.8975/bushel Thursday, while March KC wheat dipped 4.25 cents to $6.355/bushel and March MWE wheat skidded 2.75 cents to $6.185.
Cattle futures couldn’t sustain midsession firmness. Beef cancellations on the weekly Export Sales report seemingly undercut the expiring December cattle contracts this morning, but prices firmed around midsession. Trader hopes for wholesale strength seemingly supported February and April futures, then sold the market lower when the midday report disappointed. February live cattle ended Thursday having slipped 0.15 cents to 166.97 cents/pound, while April slid 0.402 to 166.45. January feeder cattle futures vaulted 1.12 cents to 235.95 cents/pound and March feeders edged up 0.15 to 232.05.
CME hogs ended mixed Thursday. Chicago hog traders seemed uncertain about short-term prospects this morning, with the various contracts edging in both directions for no obvious reason. The CME index is expected to inch upward tomorrow, but midday cash and wholesale quotes weren’t encouraging. That apparently depressed the nearby contracts. February hog futures sank 0.25 cents to 86.62 cents/pound at their Thursday settlement, while June hogs rose 0.15 cents to 94.50.